Friday, September 28, 2012

Alberta Public Art Summit

Wishing Well by Living Lenses at Genesis Centre
Henry Ford taught us that, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” This past week in Calgary, public art administrators and collaborators, from across the province, came together to bring about progress and begin laying a solid foundation for success.

The Alberta Public Art Summit saw 60 delegates from 15 municipalities converge in Calgary to celebrate achievements, share experiences, and gain insight into operational challenges. Adding an interesting dimension to the event was the varying levels of involvement and diversity of approaches represented. There were members of volunteer committees, those who have policies but no funding, others with funding but no formal policies, arms-length authorities, embedded City departments, and every other organizational make-up you can think of. While the delegates' roles and opportunities were varied, it was very clear that all share the same goal of supporting and promoting the creation and protection of great public art in municipalities across Alberta.

Presentation by Cam Farn with F&D Scene Changes Ltd 
In addition to a welcome address by the Minister of Culture, Heather Klimchuk, and a keynote presentation by Calgary's Mayor Naheed Nenshi,  delegates participated in working groups to discuss and learn more about four priority areas within the public art process - Project Management, Collections Management, Education and Awareness, and Working with Artists. In these sessions, participants shared successes, discussed current issues and challenges, and identified significant trends and commonalities to begin creating an overall picture of the status of public art in our province.

Device to Root out Evil by Dennis Oppenheim 
With such strong attendance, Rachael Seupersad, Superintendent of Public Art at the City of Calgary says that she is very pleased with the success of the summit and she believes that it will drive public art forward across Alberta in a positive and strategic way. “I recently came across a quote by an unknown source that sums up exactly what I saw take place last week. It says, ‘Regardless of differences, we strive shoulder to shoulder... Teamwork can be summed up in five short words: We believe in each other.’  I saw delegates working together, sharing the load, and most inspiring of all, believing in what we are all doing for our cities and for our province.”

The inaugural summit took place in Edmonton last year, with next year's planned for Red Deer.

For more information on Calgary's Public Art Program visit Calgary.ca/publicart.

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